The importance of friends

Published 6:52 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

Writing in his book “Hannah,”theologian and ethicist, Stanley Hauerwas states, “I have written this memoir in an attempt to understand myself, something that would be impossible without my friends. I have had a wonderful life because I have wonderful friends. So, this attempt to understand myself is not just about ‘me’ but about the friends who have made me who I am.”

  It is strange that even though our society is more technologically connected than ever before, numerous people feel increasingly isolated and disconnected from meaningful relationships.

How many of our “online” friends can we truly sit down with face-to-face and really share our lives? How many of these friends will help us out in our need or crisis? I’m talking about when we’re sick or our car breaks down or we are moving or in trouble.

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with having online friends, but we need to understand that they are a collection of acquaintances — some of them we know and some our friends know.

My point is that all of us need a real friend — someone  who is with us — present in our life, someone who gives us his or her time, someone who shares our joys, aches or hurts.

John Maxwell shared that when he was in college he took Psychology 101 with Dr. David Van Hoose. Maxwell said that one day Dr. Van Hoose pointed out something that really secured his attention. Dr. Van Hoose remarked, “If you have one true friend in life, you are very fortunate. If you have two real friends, it is highly unusual.” Maxwell went on to say that he was dumbfounded. As a young student, he thought everyone had lots of friends. And even though Dr. Van Hoose defined friendships as relationships characterized by unconditional love, he was still shocked.

A friend is present. Being present with someone in mind, body and spirit is what I am suggesting. Being there for those closest to us is the basic prescription for strong good relationships.

A friend allows you to be yourself. When you have a “kindred spirit” with someone you don’t have to explain why you do what you do. You just do it.

A friend gives their support, and a friend brings out the best in us. Someone once asked Henry Ford who was his best friend. Henry Ford replied, “A person’s best friend is the one who brings out his/her best.”

An English journal once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. The winning definition was this one: “A friend is one who comes in when the rest of the world goes out.”

  As you can see, we need each other.